Living without a smartphone in 2016

Smartphones? Yes, “smart”-phones. Recently in an article at over The Verge, Thomas Ricker argued that “smartphone” is a term of the past. Usage of handle-held devices (sorry, “smart”-phones) has been surging since the year Steve Jobs unveiled his fruit company’s phone aka iPhone. Yes, Thomas is right, we should the pull out the word “smart”. Not to say that feature phones are dead. Whoa? What’s a feature phone? That name is rarely used. Feature phones are phones that come with very limited amount of features (xD, indeed they do).

In the recent years smartphones have gotten dirt cheap, as low as $30. Morely there was the freedom 251, a smartphone by an Indian manufacturer which was being sold for under $5. In a few years, maybe 3-4 years, I say (almost) everyone will be using a smartphone. But till then – feature phones are still going to be out in the market.

For almost two months now I’ve been using a feature phone, an Alcatel flip. My Moto E’s display went haywire for reasons unknown. All I can do on the Alcatel is call, message, take some shabby pictures and wait for it, wait for it… I can flip the phone. Yes, I can flip the phone. Stylish ain’t it when all the smartphones follow the brick design? At-least something different.

The beginning of my after inception days of Alcatel were pretty enjoyable, I was living in the moment I thought – No WhatsApp, no Snapchat, piles of notifications gone. I got myself an SMS pack from my service provider. It was pretty good – no more replying to messages instantaneously, I could take my time  and the sender can’t make out if the message reached me. The social network’s plug was pulled out. But as the days passed by an uneasiness started forming. The irony here – the advantage I felt initially turned out to be a sort of disadvantage for me. I wouldn’t know if the message reached the other person and most of the time the person at the other end didn’t have an SMS pack, so, no reply; I had to call. The fun process started feeling like a daunting process. What did I do? I got an iPhone. Damn, no. I installed Bluestacks on my Mac (xD). I got WhatsApp up and running – the conversations were seamless again.

Looks like a happy ending! Well it ain’t. Using bluestacks is more daunting than just sticking to SMSes but I got a taste of it and I couldn’t get rid of it. As soon as I got home, the first thing I’d do is turn on my Mac (I’d run to my room) and fire up Bluestacks. “Oh god, what have I brought upon myself”. Sharing stuff on WhatsApp was another big task. For example, I have a picture on my Mac and I’d like to share it with someone on WhatsApp; I’d have to attach it using an email client and receive that at Bluestacks then share. Phew!

That’s not it. As I mentioned above, I use Snapchat too. Well, what’s the solution? I started using my mom’s phone for Snapchat. Oh, god damn Abhay, how many devices do you want to keep in the loop? Speaking about optics, the camera on my Alcatel is yucky. It sports a 2MP sensor which is capable of taking awful photos and recording shaky video. What to do with it though? I can’t share it and it ain’t worth a second look. Well maybe the feature phone manufacturers enjoy making people look ugly (just kidding Alcatel).

Bad in 8 out of 10 things? It has its own positives too. With the Alcatel I got the plus point of using my phone for very long periods without worrying about charging it every night. I could use it for 2-3 days continuously; my Alcatel cares about honour just like The Gladiator. Whenever the night approached it would say “Hey charger, I will see you again but not yet… not yet”. The other being the compactness of the phone. When the flip door closed, the phone matches the size of a biscuit. It just fits – hand, pocket, pouch, etc. Simple as that!

Summing it up, the experience of using a feature phone wasn’t pleasant. I missed a ton of features which have become essential to my lifestyle and that messed with my social life (these teens -_- ). Back to the question, what’s a feature phone? The feature phone’s like a body with its soul dead for some long time. May the soul rest in peace!


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